Retired Gen. David Petraeus met with president-elect Donald Trump on Monday to discuss the possibility of serving as the next secretary of state.
“I was with him for about an hour,” Petraeus said after the meeting, according to a pool report. “[Trump] basically walked us around the world. Showed a great grasp of a variety of the challenges that are out there and some of the opportunities as well.”
He added: “Very good conversation and we’ll see where it goes from here. We’ll see where it goes from here.”
The pool for the secretary of state job is thought to be narrowed down to two candidates — former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
But there’s been infighting in the Trump camp lately about the two candidates.
Top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway has publicly raised concerns about Romney, questioning his foreign policy experience and noting that Trump supporters might feel “betrayed” by the selection of someone who was a vocal critic of Trump during the primaries. And some Republicans have shown concern about Giuliani’s foreign business ties affecting his ability to win confirmation from Congress for the job.
Petraeus has said that he would serve in a Trump administration if asked.
A top official on Trump’s transition team told Bloomberg that Petraeus has significant support in the Trump camp and that Trump is “inclined” to pick him. Trump himself tweeted after the meeting, saying he was “very impressed” with the general.
The four-star general, however, doesn’t exactly have a blemish-free resume.
Petraeus resigned his post as CIA director in 2012 after his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was made public. And last year, he agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanour charge for mishandling classified information.
Petraeus allegedly gave Broadwell eight notebooks that he kept while he was the commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. The notebooks contained everything from his daily schedule to classified information regarding identifies of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities, diplomatic discussions, quotes from high-level National Security Council meetings, and discussions with the president of the United States, according to court documents.
He also apparently lied to FBI investigators about giving Broadwell classified information.
Before the scandal, Petraeus was one of the most famous and well-respected generals of his generation. He commanded forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan and rewrote the manual on counterinsurgency, a strategy that led to Al Qaeda being wiped out in Iraq (before it re-emerged as ISIS after the US pulled troops out of the country).
Petraeus also oversaw the 2007 surge of US troops into Iraq, which was widely heralded as a success.
After he left the CIA, Petraeus became chairman of the KKR Global Institute, a subsidiary of an investment firm that focuses on economic forecasts, public policy, and emerging markets.